Likud MK urges army to discharge protesting pilot reservists

A Likud MK says pilots who refused to show up for reserves training should be discharged as a warning to other soldiers threatening to sit out service to protest the government’s planned overhaul of the judiciary.

“We can’t be held hostage by a group exploiting the power it has to force policies on the government,” Ariel Kellner tells Army Radio. “If they have demands, discharge them. [Otherwise] tomorrow we’ll get infantry soldiers saying ‘we won’t serve.'”

On Sunday, nearly all reservist members of an IAF jet squadron announced that they would not show up to one of their planned training sessions later this week in protest of the overhaul, sparking warnings from both Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant that such protests could harm the military’s operational capabilities.

Maj. Gen. (Res.) Gershon Hacohen, a former senior commander who has publicly identified with the right wing, tells Kan that soldiers should keep service and politics separate.

“Let’s keep the army out of this. Something is happening here that has crossed red lines. Someone who won’t stand with the army in a tough spot isn’t in the right place,” he says.

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